Gateshead Charedim fight plans for traffic flow changes

Modifications are to be 'substantially altered' following outcry but campaigners highlight issues in the main Jewish areas


Modifications to Gateshead’s road network are to be “substantially altered” after an outcry from local residents, in which the Jewish community was prominent.

Gateshead Council has been seeking to make changes to the entry onto the Tyne Bridge, with work planned to be finished by mid-September.

The changes — planned to include banning private vehicles from using the northbound part of the Gateshead flyover — were designed to encourage cycling and walking.

Gateshead resident Binyomin Hershkowitz — who has led the Jewish community’s protests against the changes — claimed they were “totally unnecessary”.

Mr Hershkowitz was also concerned about the impact on the Jewish area of Bensham, highlighting the intersection between Durham Road and Whitehall Road.

Last Friday, he spent two hours protesting against the removal of a pedestrian crossing, before being moved along by police.

“I was protesting against the whole scheme because it is dangerous and awful.” He claimed the council’s thinking on the issue had been “illusory” and that there had not been proper consultation.

“They believe four-wheels bad, two-wheels good.”

Jewish residents also backed a petition created by Robin Lawson, which has more than 800 signatures.

Eli Hall, who is also campaigning against local changes, said that many in the community were strongly opposed to plans to make Coatsworth Road a one-way system.

“This is the main shopping street of the Jewish community,” he said. “They will then route the buses onto Alexander Road, where there are two schools and a yeshivah.” It would be dangerous and “destroy livelihoods.”

The council says the alterations will not affect plans for Coatsworth Road or the intersection in Bensham, as those are not technically under the purview of the scheme.

Gateshead Council leader, Martin Gannon said on Thursday: “We’ve listened to the concerns raised by the public in the last few days and taken action to reopen the flyover. We need to take stock of the impact and have the opportunity for more and better consultation with residents and other road users.    

“Clearly, we have tried to do too much, too quickly. From the start of this work, which is temporary and experimental, we’ve said we wanted feedback and we’ve listened to what is being said. The recent changes were designed to test road layouts which may be required to meet the clean air requirements set by government whilst traffic is at lower levels following lockdown."



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